» REVIEW: Nest Thermostat, 3rd Generation

A thermostat shouldn’t be this fun.

But thankfully that’s not the only reason we finally decided to add this smart device to our home.

If you search “smart thermostat” you’ll find that there are tons of options ranging from $99-$299. After reading countless reviews, and taking into account that Nest is the oldest player in the smart thermostat game, we ended up with the Nest Thermostat. It is one of the more expensive options out there but according to Nest, a unit will pay for itself in about two years.

The last thing I think about when leaving the house is changing the thermostat. With kids, we rush out the door. It’s a race against the clock to get dressed, find matching shoes, find matching socks (or not), let the dog out, find the keys and purse… and then there’s always the one kid that has to poop. The Nest saves the day with smart technology that helps me plan ahead or lower the temp later once we are out the door and the charades are over.

Installation + Setup

The Nest is definitely the most fun and stylish smart thermostat out there. And I’m happy to report that it is super easy to install. There are so many different situations as far as hvac units and thermostats go, keep in mind that I’m sharing our personal experience with installing the unit.

Most homes have a rectangular-shaped thermostat. The Nest comes with a plate that you can place behind the round unit to cover up the impression and any screw holes left by the old thermostat. Your other alternative is to patch and paint the wall to avoid having to use the plate. I took the latter route because I wanted to keep the look sleek and minimal. It actually took longer to prep the wall than it did to install the Nest! Total installation and setup time (not including patching and painting the wall): 30 minutes.

We took note of which wires our current system used (the instruction manual came with stickers to mark them), removed the old thermostat, screwed the new thermostat on, then reconnected the existing wires to the corresponding letters marked on the Nest. I even e-mailed Nest a picture of our old thermostat and they e-mailed me back two days later giving me a diagram of what my wires should look like with the Nest.

Once the unit was powered on, I was guided through the step-by-step setup on the unit and it was ready to go. The app was just as easy to install on my phone.

Fun Features

I won’t address all the things the Nest does, but these are definitely my favorite:

  • The ability to change the temperature with my iPhone before going to sleep or just before getting out of bed in the morning is close to life changing.
  • We haven’t had to do this yet… but the ability to double check that we changed the thermostat after leaving the house for a long trip is very reassuring. Additionally, Nest has an auto-away feature that will automatically change to a temperature you preset if the Nest senses that you’re away. It won’t engage at night so don’t worry, you won’t have to wake up at 2:00 AM to tell it you’re still home.
  • It’s called a learning thermostat for a reason. Our schedule is pretty unpredictable but the Nest has still done a great job of learning our habits over time and changes temperature on it’s own. I was worried about this feature as I didn’t think it would actually “learn” our habits. If this were the case, you could disable it.

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I may be easy to please because it’s winter time, but being able to bump the heat up before getting out of bed is a pretty amazing feeling. I don’t use the scheduling function yet but that’s partly due to the fact that it’s always been a pain on the old thermostats to set up. It’s about 100x faster doing it on your computer through your nest.com account. We’ve enjoyed the convenience and the eye candy on the wall so far. Only time will tell if we see the $100+/year cost savings but we’re trusting Nest and all the other reviews out there.

Nest website
Buy Nest Thermostat on Amazon

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

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